Larry Scott, Board Member At-Large

Larry serves as a Member-at-Large for the Buffalo Board of Education. He has been a parent activist in Buffalo for over 5 years and was one of the founders of a parent group called the Buffalo Parent Teacher Organization (BPTO). He is a school psychologist in the Ken-Ton School District, currently working as an Alternative to Suspension Specialist with middle and high school students. Prior to becoming a school psychologist, Larry worked for Erie County Child and Family Services at Connor’s Children’s Center, a residential home for children with severe emotional and behavioral needs. 

Shannon Burke, Officer

Shannon Burke has a B.A. in English and a M.S.Ed. in English Education, both from the University at Buffalo. Shannon has taught both middle and high school at a variety of local public, charter, and private schools. She has presented at NCTE’s annual conference and serves as a mentor for preservice teachers. As a founding member of WNYNET, Shannon has presented at several local events, focusing primarily on middle school literacy and student-led discussion. She is currently an Instructional Coach for teachers in grades 6 through 8 and co-chair of the Social Justice Crew at Elmwood Village Charter School.

Dr. James Cercone, Director

James Cercone is an Assitant Professor of English Education at Buffalo State College. He is also a member of the Tapestry Charter School Board of Trustees, and the Western New York Teacher Center Policy Board. Prior to joining Buffalo State, James was a Clinical Professor of English Education at the University at Buffalo and a former high school English teacher.

The Western New York Network of English Teachers
is a professional social network linking classroom ELA

teachers,teacher educators, and school administrators

with the goal of encouraging and supporting meaningful, progressive teaching in the English Language Arts.

Rene Bonilla, Officer

Rene Bonilla has a B.S. in Childhood Education (1-6) with an English extension (7-9) from Buffalo State College. As an undergraduate student, she was an English Education Student Association officer. Rene also presented at the 2019 NCTE conference. She currently teaches seventh grade English Language Arts at Elmwood Village Charter School.

Deborah Bertlesman, President
Deborah earned her B.A. in English Literature from SUNY Geneseo and a M.S.Ed. from the University at Buffalo. She is continuing her work as a doctoral student at the University at Buffalo in the Curriculum, Instruction, and Science of Learning program. Her research interests include the relationship between New Literacies Studies and Social Justice and how teachers develop identities in Communities of Practice. She is the 9th grade English Teacher at Frederick Law Olmsted in Buffalo Public Schools. Her work focuses on integration of critical literacy, new literacies, and authentic purposeful writing.

Executive Board

​​​Dr. Hilary Lochte, Board Member At-Large

Hilary Lochte is an Assistant Professor at Buffalo State College, in the English Education and Elementary Education departments.  She received a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature, a Master’s in Education, and Doctorate in Sociological Foundations of Education all from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Her research, teaching, and service focus on the needs of youth in today’s urban communities as she provides support for new and practicing teachers to utilize multicultural children’s literature in service of powerful literacy. Dr. Lochte teaches courses in Children’s Literature, Young Adult Literature and Methods of Teaching Language She also supervises student teachers. She is also Director of the Buffalo Urban Teacher Gradate Residency Program at Buffalo State. This New York Stated funded diversity initiative supports Teaching Assistants and Teacher Aides from the Buffalo Public Schools as they earn MS Ed’s and teacher certification.

Pamela Fordham, Board Member At-Large

Pamela Fordham is a teacher at Amherst Central High School. Her first teaching position was at Luther Jackson Academy in Fairfax County Virginia where she taught 7th and 8th grade English, theatre, and public speaking before relocating back to Western New York to teach in the Buffalo Public School district. In 1996, Pam joined the English Department at Amherst High School. Over the years she has participated in the Amherst community in various ways including serving as editor and a contributing writer of the newsletter of the Amherst Education Association and advising the Cultural Unity Club. In 2008 Pam created Race in America, an elective course examining the role race plays in the various facets of our lives. 

Vanessa O'Neil-White, Vice President​ 

Vanessa has a B.S. and an M.S.Ed. in English Education from Buffalo State College. As an undergraduate student, she co-founded the English Education Student Association and as a graduate student, she was involved in the beginning stages of the English Education Alumni Network. Vanessa currently teaches 8th grade English Language Arts at Sweet Home Middle School.

Anne Wechsler, Board Member At-Large

Anne Wechsler is a founder of the Elmwood Village Charter Schools and has worked at EVCS since its opening in 2006. She currently serves as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction for both EVCS campuses and is a member of EVCS’s shared leadership team. She has worked in charter school development and served as a teacher in charter schools in Brooklyn, Boston, and Buffalo. Ms. Wechsler is certified in elementary education from kindergarten through grade six. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Stanford University.


At-Large Board Members

Scott Reimann, Business Manager
Scott Reimann has a B.A. in English from John Carroll University, a M.A. in English from Stony Brook University, and a certification in English Education from the University at Buffalo. Scott has taught both middle and high school at local public and charter schools. Currently, he teaches English and communications courses at Bryant and Stratton College.

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Kristen Pastore-Capuana, Assistant Director

Kristen Pastore-Capuana, assistant professor of English education, joined the SUNY Buffalo State faculty in 2017 after teaching high school English in Western New York for 14 years. Pastore-Capuana received her B.A. at Boston College, and her Ed.M and Ph.D. at the University at Buffalo. Her research interests include critical literacy pedagogy, secondary English language arts teacher development, and teacher advocacy. 

​Dr. Jevon Hunter, Board Member At-Large

Jevon D. Hunter, Ph.D. is the Woods-Beals Endowed Chair for Urban Education in the School of Education and Chair of the Social and Psychological Foundations – Adult Education department at The State University New York, Buffalo State. Dr. Hunter is a literacy justice educator whose work is principally collaborative, having partnered with numerous schools, school districts, and BOCESs across the state of New York to share the benefits of asset-based pedagogies in the classroom such as Multicultural Education, Culturally Relevant Pedagogy, Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy, and Anti-Racist Education. He works alongside youth, teachers, teacher educators, administrators, and community educational advocates to transform curriculum and instruction to better meet the learning needs of our children. He regularly presents at local, state, and national/international conferences and publishes his work highlighting the accomplishments of youth and their teachers.

Spencer Miliotto, Officer

Spencer Miliotto will receive his M.S.Ed. in Secondary English Education (7-12) in the fall of 2021. Spencer has worked as the technology instructor at the University at Buffalo School of Medicine's Science and Technology Entry Program for five years, and he taught College Writing at Buffalo State during the fall 2019 semester. He is currently teaching at Tapestry Charter High School. His teaching interests focus on creating classroom spaces where students can start to see themselves as agents of change in their communities.

Annie O'Neil-White, Board Member At-Large

Annie has a BA from Duke University and a J.D. from Washington University in St. Louis. She is licensed to practice law in New York and is a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist. Annie is a BSA Compliance Manager in the Enhanced Due Diligence Group at M&T Bank. She has been with M&T for over 6 years. At M&T, she co-chairs her Department’s Career Development Month Committee and serves as a leader on the Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging Advisory Team. She is involved in several other Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging initiatives as well as Bank sponsored volunteer events.

Noah Falck, Board Member At-Large

Noah Falck is a poet and educator. He was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, and attended the University of Dayton where he studied literacy education. His poetry has appeared in Boston Review, Harvard Review, Literary Hub, Ploughshares,, and has been anthologized in Poem-A-Day 365 Poems for Every Occasion.
For ten years, he taught elementary school, and currently spends his summers mentoring young writers as a faculty member in the Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshop. Now living in Buffalo, New York, he works as Education Director at Just Buffalo Literary Center and curates the Silo City Reading Series, a multimedia poetry series inside a 130-foot high abandoned grain elevator.